The 2010 census of Albia showed a population of just 3,766. It is the county seat of Monroe County. Though a small town by every sense of the word, Albia is privileged to have had in their history some very famous people. George Bennard who composed “The Old Rugged Cross” lived in Albia for a time while growing up, and author of , James Stevens, was born in Albia in 1892.
Incorporated in 1856, Albia is located about 22 miles north of Centerville and around 64 miles southeast of Des Moines. The Monroe County Historical Museum in Albia, founded in 1984 by the Monroe County Historical Society, portrays in detail the history of coal mining and pioneer living in the area.
Downtown Albia is definitely a place to see. The townspeople restored the 92-building business district to its original 1900 style and sophistication. Several of the homes in the area, along with the courthouse are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. During the summer, homage is paid to Robert Bates, instrumental in the restoration of the downtown district, by holding the Albia Restoration Days event. A parade, along with an art show and vintage car exhibits are among the activities. Yearly tours and carriage rides are offered the first Saturday of December during the Albia Victorian Heritage celebration.
The average home value in the area as of 2012 was $87,178. Average rent was $511. Albia has two public high schools. The Albia High School has an excellent student/teacher ratio of 12.4. The town has one public middle school and three public grade schools. Albia is home to the Monroe County Hospital, founded in 1956, which offers a network of healthcare clinics throughout the area.